As we temporarily inhabit the surface of this rock, spinning as it slings about the nearby mass of incandescent gas in accordance with the laws of gravity, hurtling through the cold, dark of space entirely alone (as far as we know), it's comforting to know there are some constants in the universe. One of those constants is the Sunday forfeit lineup.
That's probably a bit on the harsh side, because the prime difference between today and what we've seen up to this point is the appearance of Taylor Teagarden. It's also the first start of the year for Alexi Casilla, which would constitute forfeit lineup territory were it not for the fact that second base has otherwise been played by Ryan Flaherty, who has gone 0-for while swinging for the fences and instead returning to the bench.
Have you noticed something about the pitching staff through five games? It hasn't been great. In fact, the Orioles' 4.91 staff ERA is 5th-highest in MLB, and 2nd-highest in the AL, trailing only the Yankees (6.49). There were two quality starts the first time through the rotation, though the two losses have been pinned on the bullpen. It's early yet and we probably shouldn't panic about anything. Probably.
Jason Hammel takes the mound today, so Casilla in the lineup should theoretically mean one more spot in the infield with solid defense, always a key when a ground ball pitcher is involved. We saw one reason why last night when ground ball closer Jim Johnson started to get in trouble when Chris Davis missed a routine grounder. Davis is back out there again today, as he should be, because maybe he just needs to learn or something. Also maybe today he will get back to hitting a home run.
The Twins are sending out a guy named Pedro Hernandez, who surrendered 8 runs in 4 IP in his only big league appearance to date, which was last July. He is listed at 5'10", not something you see every day in a major league pitcher. He's left-handed, from Venezuela, and is turning 24 in less than a week. The Twins received him in a trade, along with Eduardo Escobar, from the White Sox for Francisco Liriano around last year's non-waiver trade deadline.
Given that Liriano had a 5.31 ERA at the time of that trade, this probably tells us something about the expected value of Hernandez, and that something is not good for today's Twins starter. Which doesn't mean he won't mysteriously stymie the Orioles lineup the first time they ever see him, of course. But maybe it means he isn't long for the big leagues and the O's will prove why today, even with the likes of Teagarden and Casilla in the lineup.
You may have heard by now that Carly Rae Jepsen, whom you might know better as the singer of "Call Me Maybe", is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to today's game. You may wonder why the Orioles are thus honoring a Canadian pop star months after the apex of what will probably be her one-hit wonder, but even after a year of winning baseball, this is still the Orioles we're talking about. What could be more them?
It's still a catchy song, though. Before you came into my life I missed you SO BAD...
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||MINNESOTA TWINS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Aaron Hicks - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Joe Mauer - C|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Josh Willingham - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Steve Pearce - DH||Ryan Doumit - DH|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Trevor Plouffe - 3B|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Wilkin Ramirez - RF|
|Taylor Teagarden - C||Bryan Dozier - 2B|
|Alexi Casilla - 2B||Pedro Florimon - SS|